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618600 Posts in 24934 Topics by 3545 Members - Latest Member: leafy October 16, 2017, 08:56:40 PM
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Author Topic: Favorite Comic book movies  (Read 1684 times)
JL
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« on: August 08, 2017, 07:54:08 PM »

So who loves superhero movies?! I do. I've seen so many I lost count (and that's not really an exaggeration, either). I wanted to make a Marvel superhero thread at first but then I figured DC has a lot of good ones too, and there's some other comic book/superhero films not with either company.

As for the entire genre, top-tier superhero movies for me would be:

Spider-Man 2 (2004) - The Dark Knight - Captain America: Civil War - Iron Man - Spider-Man (2002) - Superman - Batman Begins - Marvel's the Avengers - Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Doctor Strange - Captain America: The First Avenger - Guardians of the Galaxy - X-Men: First Class - The Dark Knight Rises - Superman 2: The Richard Donner Cut - Deadpool - Logan - X-Men 2: X-Men United - Wonder Woman

Middle-tier (enjoyable but not that great) would be:

Batman (1989) - Batman Returns - Ant-Man - The Amazing Spider-Man films - Spider-Man 3 - Thor and Thor: The Dark World - The Avengers: Age of Ultron - Watchmen - The Hulk - Iron Man 2 and 3 - Daredevil  - Man of Steel - Suicide Squad

And the rest range from passable to bad but I've seen them anyway:

Batman and Robin - Batman Forever - Batman vs. Superman - The Blade Series - Hulk (2003) - Elektra - Fantastic 4 Films - a host of low budget 90's films based on Marvel superheroes (Captain America, Fantastic 4, Nick Fury) that were made largely in order to keep the film rights from expiring. I'm ashamed to have watched these and they've thankfully been buried in history by other, much more respectable entries into the genre.

There's others missing, I know. I'm not as familiar with the X-Men series, I've seen the movies, but don't remember enough about them. They'd probably fit into the first and second category mostly. I also haven't seen Superman 3 and 4 save for bits and pieces. I have high hopes for future DC movies, but they've been hit and miss so far.

Any thoughts? Or have I already geeked out enough for everyone?
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2017, 08:01:39 PM »

Batman vs. Superman was great on a weird interlectual level! 3D
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JL
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2017, 08:19:50 PM »

Batman vs. Superman was great on a weird interlectual level! 3D

Hmm. Interesting point.

I felt like it was not as bad as some people said and not as good as the makers wanted it to be. If anything deserves to be called a 'mixed bag' it's BvS. The action and effects were great, it's well cast, gets us interested in other DC characters and their future movies (not to mentioned the Justice League), and has some interesting themes. Then again, the action is a bit too loud and obnoxious (it IS a Zack Snyder film, after all), Henry Caville has some great moments but his Clark Kent portrayal is mostly dull, Batman is an idiot for his obsession to kill Superman and that plot point threatens to ruin the entire movie, the side characters aren't given much to do and the constant hints/cameos of other DC heroes are fun but don't really add to the plot of THIS movie. Then again, Wonder Woman has a huge impact in her limited screen time, Gal Gadot is perfect for the role. But this film, by itself, does nothing in terms of letting us get to know her character at all, so it feels like she's just there to be there without much character development (and to sell tickets). This is exactly why DC should've had at least 2 Superman films, a solo Affleck Batman film or two and Wonder Woman come out first, aka the Marvel route before having them team up. It just tells me that DC is just interested in making as much money as possible as quickly as possible. Which, Marvel is too, of course, but they do so with a better creative vision.

At least DC seems to have learned it's lesson: I'm in the minority in liking Suicide Squad, but Wonder Woman was undeniably good and the Justice League looks excellent, the actors are perfect, which gives me hope for future movies (The Flash, Aquaman).
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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2017, 06:04:48 AM »

I'm a huge huge Batman fan, but I'm not really big into other comic book heroes. 

That being said, Tim Burton's 1989 Batman movie ranks all not just my all time favorite comic book movie, but it's in my top 3 favorite movies of all time!!!  I think this movie strikes the perfect balance of darkness, humor, and action.  It gives Batman a good backstory, and has a great cast.  IMO, Jack Nicholson is The Joker and Michael Keaton is Batman.  Plus, any movie with Robert Wuhl gets a thumbs up.

The sequel Batman Returns (1992) is also a personal favorite.

Unfortunately, that franchise fell hard when Burton, Elfman, and Keaton left the keys to the Bat Cave to Joel Schumacher (who has directed many high quality movies).  Batman Forever (1995) has its moments, but Batman and Robin (1997) is just bad. 

The ultra camp Schumacher movies did pave the way for the Christopher Nolan Trilogy.  Batman Begins (2005) takes Batman into more of a real world setting.  Nice origin movie.  The Dark Knight (2008) is a brilliant film, which is marred a bit by Christian Bale's exaggerated growl.   The Dark Knight Rises (2012) is good, but a little plodding, and full of plot holes.  The movie's a little long too.  My only issue with the Nolan films is I like a little more humor with my action movies, and while there are some moments, the movies are relentlessly grim.

An often overlooked movie is 1993's Batman and the Mask of the Phantasm, a theatrically released movie based on the stellar Animated Series which debuted in 1992.   

Now, the current Batman movies - Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad.  I actually liked Affleck as Batman, but I thought BvS to be a bit on the dull side.  I thought Suicide Squad was a train wreck.  After watching Suicide Squad, I almost wanted to watch Batman and Robin as a cleanser.

The ultra serious Batman movies from Nolan and Snyder may have paved the way for Batman - Return of the Dymanic Duo (2016), an animated tribute to the campy, but loads of fun, 1960s Batman (featuring the voices of Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar).  The movie is a hoot, and it's getting a sequel this fall - Batman v Two Face (featuring William Shatner as Two Face).

Going full circle, the 1960s Batman spawned the first full length Batman movie in 1966.  It's highly entertaining, and filled with great one liners, and absurdities.  Call me crazy, but I'll watch this over the Nolan and Snyder movies any day. 

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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2017, 06:17:04 AM »

I remember enjoying the Batman TV show back in the '60s...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjKyGs-G6Sg

... and one recent Batman film (with music by Prince?). But that's about as far as my comic book movies go...
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« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2017, 06:48:55 AM »

I remember enjoying the Batman TV show back in the '60s...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjKyGs-G6Sg

... and one recent Batman film (with music by Prince?). But that's about as far as my comic book movies go...

The movie with the Prince music is the 1989 Burton movie I referenced.  (Frankly, I think the Prince music is the only thing that really dates it)
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« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2017, 11:02:27 AM »

KDS - Interesting thoughts. I've always been a little critical of Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. I've admired them at arms length, appreciated them, but never really embraced them as some of the very best comic books movies for the reasons you mentioned. I think Burton's films have the best 'atmosphere': Nicholson's Joker is perfect and is my favorite portrayal of the character, great mix of humor and sadism, Batman Returns is dark but has it's certain type of comic relief. But I can't deny it any longer, for now I feel that the TDK trilogy has the best plot and character development of the series, and overall they're more focused and have themes that stay with you after the credits roll (especially The Dark Knight). They're some of the best examples of the genre. 'Begins' is a great origin story, and 'Rises' I agree is a bit muddled but still solid.

I still feel Nolan and co. could've had more fun with the material, as you mentioned the movies are indeed relentlessly grim. I'm not saying to go 60's Batman campy, but for example, if you're into video games, I feel the Arkham series also nails the villains and style of Batman, as well as Batman: The Animated series from the 90's.

I kinda like Batman Forever, but you can see the stage being set for the terrible Batman & Robin. Tommy Lee Jones is a fantastic actor, but his portrayal is more like the Joker than Two Face and doesn't do the character justice, and Nicole Kidman's role is disposable. B&R is only enjoyable if you know it's going to be terrible and just laugh at it along the way, but I think Arnold and Uma Thurman could've done great if they had been given better written characters. They don't deserve the blame for that mess, neither does Clooney or Alicia Silverstone.

So I feel TDK films are overall the best, but I definitely don't think there's anything wrong with liking the Burton films more, as they are better in certain respects.
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« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2017, 11:15:44 AM »

KDS - Interesting thoughts. I've always been a little critical of Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. I've admired them at arms length, appreciated them, but never really embraced them as some of the very best comic books movies for the reasons you mentioned. I think Burton's films have the best 'atmosphere': Nicholson's Joker is perfect and is my favorite portrayal of the character, great mix of humor and sadism, Batman Returns is dark but has it's certain type of comic relief. But I can't deny it any longer, for now I feel that the TDK trilogy has the best plot and character development of the series, and overall they're more focused and have themes that stay with you after the credits roll (especially The Dark Knight). They're some of the best examples of the genre. 'Begins' is a great origin story, and 'Rises' I agree is a bit muddled but still solid.

I still feel Nolan and co. could've had more fun with the material, as you mentioned the movies are indeed relentlessly grim. I'm not saying to go 60's Batman campy, but for example, if you're into video games, I feel the Arkham series also nails the villains and style of Batman, as well as Batman: The Animated series from the 90's.

I kinda like Batman Forever, but you can see the stage being set for the terrible Batman & Robin. Tommy Lee Jones is a fantastic actor, but his portrayal is more like the Joker than Two Face and doesn't do the character justice, and Nicole Kidman's role is disposable. B&R is only enjoyable if you know it's going to be terrible and just laugh at it along the way, but I think Arnold and Uma Thurman could've done great if they had been given better written characters. They don't deserve the blame for that mess, neither does Clooney or Alicia Silverstone.

So I feel TDK films are overall the best, but I definitely don't think there's anything wrong with liking the Burton films more, as they are better in certain respects.


I'll agree that Nolan's franchise is far more consistent that the Burton / Schumacher franchise (though I think it would be much closer of a call had Burton stayed on board). 

Batman Forever isn't as bad as it's reputation.  But you pointed out one of the main problems in the movie is that they never really explore the Two Face / Dent character as well as they did in, say, The Animated Series or The Dark Knight.  And by switching the actor from Billy Dee Williams to Tommy Lee Jones, you don't get to experience the character's fall from grace IMO.   But, for what it was, I think Jones did a good job as an over the top villain, as did Jim Carrey.  I agree that Nicole Kidman's talents are somewhat wasted.  It seems like her main objective in the movie is to fill out tight clothing, and I feel they could've gotten anybody to go that. 

It's been 20 years since I've watched Batman and Robin, and maybe I need to give it another look.  At 16, I was expecting a continuation of the franchise I loved, and was greatly disappointed.  At 36, I've learned to relax some of my tastes and tend to take more enjoy in cheesy fare, so I might actually enjoy the thing. 
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« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2017, 05:57:56 AM »

In my Batman post, I forgot to mention the Lego Batman Movie, which came out earlier this year (which was apparently also a bit of a reaction to the more grim Batman movies of the 2000s).  The movie is a lot of fun, and includes a ton of easter eggs for Batfans. 
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« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2017, 07:11:37 AM »

This is slightly off-topic but I am teaching a course on superheroes this fall. While I am doing precursors to the contemporary 20th century superhero, I will also be focusing specifically on 3 characters: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Because it is a lit course, we are mostly looking at print sources. I am currently scouring the DC archives to find suitable examples. But I will be putting some visual material on the course. At the moment, I am thinking about the Batman comedy show from the 60s and the recent Wonder Woman movie. But I am curious on your thoughts about this.
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« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2017, 07:51:12 AM »

This is slightly off-topic but I am teaching a course on superheroes this fall. While I am doing precursors to the contemporary 20th century superhero, I will also be focusing specifically on 3 characters: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Because it is a lit course, we are mostly looking at print sources. I am currently scouring the DC archives to find suitable examples. But I will be putting some visual material on the course. At the moment, I am thinking about the Batman comedy show from the 60s and the recent Wonder Woman movie. But I am curious on your thoughts about this.

You may want to mix in some later day Batman, I'd suggest the Animated Series from the early 1990s, which shows more of the darkside of the character.   In the 1960s show, they didn't go much into Batman's motivations (I think Adam West mentions the murder of his parents in the pilot, and I'm pretty sure it's the only mention).
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« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2017, 07:55:11 AM »

Maybe the late 1960s DC stories that reestablished the character to the 1930s noir roots?
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« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2017, 07:57:18 AM »

This is slightly off-topic but I am teaching a course on superheroes this fall. While I am doing precursors to the contemporary 20th century superhero, I will also be focusing specifically on 3 characters: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Because it is a lit course, we are mostly looking at print sources. I am currently scouring the DC archives to find suitable examples. But I will be putting some visual material on the course. At the moment, I am thinking about the Batman comedy show from the 60s and the recent Wonder Woman movie. But I am curious on your thoughts about this.

You may want to mix in some later day Batman, I'd suggest the Animated Series from the early 1990s, which shows more of the darkside of the character.   In the 1960s show, they didn't go much into Batman's motivations (I think Adam West mentions the murder of his parents in the pilot, and I'm pretty sure it's the only mention).

Thanks very much.

We will be reading the earliest Batman comics which are dark in a film noir sense and we will be reading in full The Dark Knight Returns which, as I am led to believe, is quite dark.

I am navigating these characters through time and showing that characters themselves as well as the things that they are concerned about shift depending on the era in which they are being written. I am showing the Batman from the 60s Batman series in order to articulate how Batman was positioned as an outdated stuffy Establishment figure and therefore a target for lampooning. But by no means will this be the only Batman we will be looking at.

Happy to converse about this. I have been given this course with very little background knowledge on it, so I am grateful for any info you have.
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« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2017, 07:58:47 AM »

Maybe the late 1960s DC stories that reestablished the character to the 1930s noir roots?

Thanks SB! I will look into those.
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« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2017, 08:17:28 AM »

This is slightly off-topic but I am teaching a course on superheroes this fall. While I am doing precursors to the contemporary 20th century superhero, I will also be focusing specifically on 3 characters: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Because it is a lit course, we are mostly looking at print sources. I am currently scouring the DC archives to find suitable examples. But I will be putting some visual material on the course. At the moment, I am thinking about the Batman comedy show from the 60s and the recent Wonder Woman movie. But I am curious on your thoughts about this.

You may want to mix in some later day Batman, I'd suggest the Animated Series from the early 1990s, which shows more of the darkside of the character.   In the 1960s show, they didn't go much into Batman's motivations (I think Adam West mentions the murder of his parents in the pilot, and I'm pretty sure it's the only mention).

Thanks very much.

We will be reading the earliest Batman comics which are dark in a film noir sense and we will be reading in full The Dark Knight Returns which, as I am led to believe, is quite dark.

I am navigating these characters through time and showing that characters themselves as well as the things that they are concerned about shift depending on the era in which they are being written. I am showing the Batman from the 60s Batman series in order to articulate how Batman was positioned as an outdated stuffy Establishment figure and therefore a target for lampooning. But by no means will this be the only Batman we will be looking at.

Happy to converse about this. I have been given this course with very little background knowledge on it, so I am grateful for any info you have.

I've heard good things about The Dark Knight returns, but I never really got into the comic book Batman world (in all honestly, I wouldn't know where to begin).  The only one I've read is Alan Moore's (in)famous The Killing Joke, which is quite dark, but I think that story is very overrated (though it does a decent job with The Joker's backstory). 
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« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2017, 08:21:14 AM »

Maybe the late 1960s DC stories that reestablished the character to the 1930s noir roots?

Thanks SB! I will look into those.
Neal Adams did some great stuff in that period on Batman.
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« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2017, 09:11:56 AM »

I'm a day late, but yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the debut of Batman - The Animated Series, which is still held in very high regard for it's story telling and the voice acting. 
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